Upgrading my handmedown PowerMac

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by mactib, Jul 21, 2006.

  1. mactib macrumors member

    mactib

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2006
    #1
    Guys, my uncle gave me his old PowerMac g4 (its the darkblue and silver one), It has 20gigs of harddrive and it runs OS 9. Can anyone help me with buying new harddrive and some extra RAM. Can I possibly run OS Tiger on it?
    Is it worth it?

    Thanks
     
  2. xfiftyfour macrumors 68030

    xfiftyfour

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    #2
    hey, i know you can't post in there, but you can read this thread from the marketplace. the guy is looking to upgrade his G4, as well.
     
  3. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

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    #3
    I find OS X very frustrating on G3s, but on a powermac G4 you will be fine. Just remember that OS X loves RAM, and on Tiger you have to watch out for widgets eating all your free RAM (so don't run very many of them, or get a lot of memory).
     
  4. dpaanlka macrumors 601

    dpaanlka

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    #4
    First, determine if it is an AGP or PCI model.

    If it is an AGP model, the video card will be in a specialized AGP video slot, that is clearly different than the rest of the slots, which would be PCI. If it's a PCI model, the video card would be in a PCI slot.

    If it is an AGP model, you have tons of upgrde options. I would recommend the OWC line of processor upgrades, especially their 1.2ghz G4 model: http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other World Computing/MEG42M1200/ which, at $199, offers the best combination of speed, price, and a 3-year warranty! OWC upgrades go up to 1.5ghz for $299, and they have 2mb of L3 cache. In the G4 upgrade world, there are two types of G4 upgrades... ones with lower clock speeds and tons of cache, and ones with higher clock speeds but less cache. The lower clock speed/higher cache option is usually a lot cheaper and essentially just as fast.

    If it is a PCI model, you can get either a Sonnet G4 at 1ghz: http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Sonnet Technology/EG410001MU/ or a PowerLogix one, but I would recommend staying away from PowerLogix.

    You can put 512mb PC100 or PC133 ram in your machine. Depending on what model it is, you can go up to either 1.5GB (three slots) or 2gb (four slots).

    If it is an AGP model, you can go up to an ATI Radeon 9800 Pro with 256mb of ram. If it is a PCI model, your top video upgrade is a Radeon 9200 with 128mb of ram.

    You can put any IDE hard drive into your machine, so long as it doesn't exceed 120 GB. If you want more, you'll have to buy a new hard drive controller. Sonnet makes excellent SATA controllers specifically for Macs and will work with Mac OS 8 - Tiger: http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Sonnet Technology/TSATA/ - If you get Tiger, this allows you to have massive hard drives, and are a bit faster too.
     
  5. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603

    GimmeSlack12

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    #5
    It is totally worth it if you have no other options or money to buy a new model. Ebay is your friend in this case. More RAM try and upgrade to 1gb. As for HD you can get a 100gb IDE drive for about $60. And for Tiger I say find a friend who has it, or rather Ebay for it and get a deal.

    To get the total specs on the machine check out System Profiler (should be in the applications>utilities folder or search for it).
     
  6. mactib thread starter macrumors member

    mactib

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    Jul 21, 2006
    #6
    How do I know its an AGP or PCI Model? Sorry, you are dealing with a complete rookie..

    appreciate it
     
  7. BrianMojo macrumors regular

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    Jul 10, 2006
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    Boston, MA
    #7

    Tiger runs great on my PowerMac G4 733mhz (aka 'DigitalAudio'). I've got 512MB of RAM and while it does sometimes hang on things for the most part it works just fine. I even do some video editing in Final Cut on it. Your computer definitely should be able to handle the load -- in fact, I've noticed that the speed of Tiger is significantly better than the speed of OS 9 on my machine.
     
  8. BrianMojo macrumors regular

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    #8
    Probably the easiest way would be to open the system profiler. It should be able to tell you what slot your video card is in.
     
  9. mactib thread starter macrumors member

    mactib

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    Jul 21, 2006
    #9
    guys, just to let you know...I am working on a 2gig ram, 120gig hdd, 17" macbookpro...my office got one for all the workers...just for office use
     
  10. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603

    GimmeSlack12

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    #10
    So? What does that mean?
     
  11. dpaanlka macrumors 601

    dpaanlka

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    #11
    Well, if its a PCI version, then all the slots will be the same length and color and cards can be interchanged between them. If its an AGP Mac, the slot with the video card is physically different (shorter), probably a different color, and PCI cards wont be able to fit in it.
     
  12. mactib thread starter macrumors member

    mactib

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    Jul 21, 2006
    #12
    just to let you know that your brother is having a good time
     
  13. xfiftyfour macrumors 68030

    xfiftyfour

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    #13
    did i miss something? :confused:
     
  14. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603

    GimmeSlack12

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    #14
    What? This thread has stopped making sense and I'm not going to bother figuring it out. Good luck dude.
     
  15. LBmacman macrumors member

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  16. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #16
    Go to Apple Symbol>About this Mac>More Info, and check to see how fast the system is, AGP or PCI for graphics, RAM, etc.
     
  17. mactib thread starter macrumors member

    mactib

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    Jul 21, 2006
    #17
    Can I run OS X Tiger after upgrading memory to 1gig, and hdd to 120gigs? Or do I need a new faster processor..I think mine is 500mhz "sawtooth" :confused:
     
  18. mactib thread starter macrumors member

    mactib

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    Jul 21, 2006
    #18
    also,

    What if ,...I upgrade the processor to 1ghz.. Does that mean I can install a bigger hard disk and other stuff?
    :confused:
     
  19. livingfortoday macrumors 68030

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    The Msp
    #19
    You should be able to install Tiger on a 500Mhz G4 fine. As for larger drives, you'll either need a software hack (there's a program at macsales.com that'll do this) or a PCI ATA controller card to hook the drives to. The older Mac motherboards just have that limitation, so no upgrade other than a PCI controller will circumvent it.
     
  20. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #20
    There are lots of PowerMac G4 Models out there...make sure (as others have said) that you determine the exact model you have, since it determines what upgrades you can buy. If you decide to go crazy (and if you really have a Sawtooth) you could upgrade up to dual 1.8GHz or a single 2.0GHz CPU, 2GB RAM, up to 4 ATA or SATA hard drives of up to 500GB each, a Radeon 9800 video card (or, if you are willing to flash your own, a GeForce 7800GS), dual-layer DVD burner, and more.

    My recommendation is that you spend some quality time determining

    - precisely which G4 PowerMac you have, and what upgrades are available.

    - which upgrades are high priority and which are not.

    - what you're willing to spend.

    and move from there. Good luck!
     
  21. mactib thread starter macrumors member

    mactib

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2006
    #21
    I am not going to go that crazy!! I will be buying a 120 gb hdd (works without getting a controller?) and just add one more 512 mb ram. I think I have an AGP model, with 4 pci slots and a different graphic card slot. Can I add one more graphics card in the PCI slot or do I need to buy an AGP compatible card?

    Can anyone suggest some reasonably priced stuff?(which are of good quality of course).

    1. 120 gb hdd
    2. 512 mb RAM (or a 1gb RAM if the pricing are similar.
    3. and a PCI video graphic card.

    Thanks,

    P.S. The computer PCI thingie looks like this
    [​IMG]
     
  22. dpaanlka macrumors 601

    dpaanlka

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    #22
    Right....

    So is the video card sitting in a PCI slot or what? It's not in that picutre. Take the time to look at it. Do you have four identical slots, or three of one slot and one unique one.
     
  23. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #23
    Open the Mac up as you have done for your photo, and follow the cable coming from your display/monitor. It will connect to an expansion card in the computer - this is the video card. Pull that card out of the computer (carefully!) and compare the connector it plugs into on the motherboard to the other expansion connectors. If you have four identical connectors (one of which had the video card in it), then you've got a PCI-only Yikes! PowerMac. If the video card plugged into a connector that looks different in color and size from the others, you have one of the AGP Macs. This distinction is important in terms of upgrade selection.
     
  24. mactib thread starter macrumors member

    mactib

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    Jul 21, 2006
    #24
    its the same as the one in the picture..so i guess its AGP?
     
  25. dpaanlka macrumors 601

    dpaanlka

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    #25
    if they're all the same, that means its not an AGP - and therefore not eligeable for the upgrades that pertain to the AGP macs only...
     

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